I have posted on more than one occasion that Secretary Rumsfeld did not want the expense of the military personnel strength to interfere with his wheeling and dealing "business ways". Every service member in uniform, competed and interfered, by law, with his desire to execute his desires as freely as possible. How's that for a strong statement. Here's why I say that those in uniform competed and interfered, by law, with his desires:
In the private sector, if the CEO needs money for new equipment, he has several ways of getting it. One is to borrow, another is to increase sales, and another is to divert funds for one expense item to the desired purchase. Laying off employees and extracting higher productivity from the remaining work force, for example, allows the salaries and benefits not paid to be diverted to other corporate uses. Or, the employer can find a way to reduce individual salaries and benefits to diver the funds thereby saved.
In the US military budget process, there are three categories of budgeted funds that bear explaining:
1. The Personnel Account (PA). These are the funds specifically identified by Congress to meet the direct payroll and selected benefits requirements of the uniformed military. And, the monies in PA are virtually impossible to divert to other expense items. Unlike XYC Corp, the Secretary of Defense, or any other member of the Defense dept cannot simply reduce pay or the number of uniformed military at his discretion to divert PA funds to other use once a budget has been approved. Nor can money from other accounts be used to make up shortfalls in the PA. The jargon for this is that the PA is "Fenced".
2. The Operations and Maintenance Account (O&M). These are the funds with which the day to day operations of the military are conducted. Civilian payroll, supplies, repairs, contractor services, utilities, bullets, uniforms, and so on come from this account. Fund managers have a degree of discretion in executing these accounts. If you delay hiring a replacement civil servant, the salary not disbursed can be used elsewhere, within some limits.
3. Procurement Accounts. These are the funds designated to buy "big ticket" items, and quite often they have not only dollar, but unit quantity specifics.
Now, for every soldier on the payroll, a part of the Defense budget is and can only be used for his pay, allowances and certain benefits. Further, unless you want the people up in arms because you wouldn't provide food, uniforms and medical care for the troops, a certain portion of the O&M account is basically out of the Defense Secretary's control, as it must be spent to accomplish these ends, and every fellow in uniform requires food, uniforms, medical care, equipment, etc. In short, a huge portion of the Defense budget is "Fenced" to support the people in uniform, or is driven by circumstances to support the people in uniform. Even O&M funds that are, on the surface, available to support things of the Defense Secretary's choosing, are tied to personnel strength levels to a great degree.
One would be a fool to think that Congress is willing to write a blank check to the Defense Dept. Unlike XYZ Corp, that can try to increase sales to get more money to fund internal priorities/desires, DOD can only work with what Congress sees as the TOTAL expense level it will accept for the Defense Budget. If a SecDef wishes to spend 10% more on missiles next year, he very well may have to give up something in exchange, just a a CEO with no hope of increased sales/revenue must fore go an expense item to use that money elsewhere. But, unlike his corporate CEO counterpart, the SecDef cannot play fast and loose with the PA to meet his internal expense priorities.
Now, Mr Rumsfeld was seduced by technology to increase the "lethality" of the armed forces. One aspect of lethality is that each service member can kill more bad guys with technology than without, and the next logical conclusion (if you want to call it "logical") is that therefore, fewer troops can kill the same numbers of bad guys with better "toys". Now, in an auto manufacturing plant, technology can decrease payroll expense without reducing the plant output. But the DOD really has more in their mission than killing and blowing up things, and Phase IV is one of them, or at least the potential for Phase IV operations. But, Phase IV operations, by their very nature, are not lethality based, and are very manpower intensive. So, if you can avoid Phase IV responsiblities, you can reduce manpower requirements.
How antagonistic was Rummy toward manpower costs? Well, he openly expressed irritation that his budget had to divert his attention to and pay for "grocery stores, department stores and hospitals that no proper private sector employer had to provide". When reminded that the Exchanges were not supported by budgeted funds, they dropped out of his cross-hairs. To reduce the number of medical staff being paid out of the PA, we simply had their stateside billets converted to contractors paid out of the O&M accounts, adjusting staffing as necessary to manage the O&M dollars as he saw fit. Or, shifted patient care from military hospitals to nearby civilian hospitals to move that expense to the TRICARE (insurance) account.
Why the dependence on contractors in Iraq? Because one hires them on an "as needed" basis and pays them out of O&M funds. If the need for fuel transportation drops, reduce the contract requirements and spend the money elsewhere. GI fuel truck drivers cost the same amount whether they deliver fuel or not, and those PA funds cannot be shifted.
Now, as to what I saw as evidence that Rummy wanted to strip the military down to a "shock and awe" capability only? First, there was a numeric ceiling on the force for the invasion of Iraq. Now, any student of the military will tell you that personnel numbers are meaningless. Operational thinkers work with "Force Packages". There is a warfighting difference between 2,500 troops and a Brigade Task Force, and there are also different types of brigades, based upon the type of warfare (light infantry, armor, etc). "2,500 troops" tells us nothing about the capability of the resulting force. Yet, Rumsnamara was not going to entertain more than 250,000 uniformed personnel in theater, regardless of the force composition needs. Thus, significant and necessary combat service support units were left off the battle roster. Thus, the 3rd ID, for example, had difficulty getting rations when the operation lasted longer than anticipated, and contractor logistic support was not available. And this diddling with "non lethal elements" being left behind by design can be traced directly to SecDef.
To be able to really "conquer" an enemy and stand up, over time, a new state, requires, as GEN Shinseki so gracefully stated, many, many more soldiers than just invading and toppling the army and government of another nation. If we are to have a military capable of conquering another nation and properly occupying it, the size and type of Army Rumsfeld envisioned, small and lethal, but nothing else, will never get the job done. I'm not saying that we ever could have stood up an acceptable and functioning government in Iraq. What I am saying is that if it is possible, we did nothing to make that happen, and that nothing was by the intent and design of one Donald Rumsfeld.
So, we are not, nor never have been facing an "insurgency" in Iraq. What is going on there is no different that the chaos in New Orleans when the forces of nature kept the civil authorities from providing basic and effective public safety services. No police, fire, water, electricity, sanitation result in a break down of the social order and you end up with looting and other associated crimes. And like Iraq, some of the criminals were from outside New Orleans. The difference in Iraq is that after the total destruction of the elements maintaining the social order, the follow on structure was too little and too late. It's not an "insurgency" but a totally failed occupation.